The Washington Wizards wrap up their Detroit-plus-four-Western-Conference-teams road trip in Phoenix tonight. Having a 2-2 record against the Pistons, Blazers, Clippers and Jazz thus far is a nice accomplishment for this team. Losses in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City were far from abject, but each did display the same ills that have plagued the Wizards all season. Against a 13-19 Suns squad coming off a tough win over the Lakers in Phoenix on Sunday, the 7-24 Wizards have a fair chance to prove progression. The Suns are favored by six points. Today’s 3-on-3 features Michael Schwartz (@ValleyoftheSuns) of the ESPN TrueHoop Network blog Valley of the Suns, along with TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Three questions, three answers… Leggo.
#1) Is Steve Nash not asking for a trade actually a very smart move, in that he’s not hurting his value by mere words, and the Suns will ultimately deal him before the deadline? Or will he really play out his contract and then leave Phoenix (or stay)? Where does he go in either case?
ADAM McGINNIS: The Suns should trade Nash from a basketball personnel standpoint, but ownership appears set on retaining him for remainder of season. If teams are low-balling for Nash’s services, there is an argument for letting him play his contract out. Fans will come to see Nash play his last games in Phoenix and that financial gain could be worth more than taking on salary or a few second round draft picks. Even though the Free Steve Nash movement has sprouted up online, Nash has taken the classy route of not creating drama with trade demands. My prediction is he plays out his contract and then signs with a title contender like Bulls, Heat, Thunder or Lakers.
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ: Steve Nash not asking for a trade has nothing to do with leverage, he’s just legitimately a loyal guy who wants to try to build something in Phoenix even if it seems crazy to the rest of the world (and some Suns fans). I’ve always felt that if the Suns were well out of the playoff race in March that he might change his tune, but there are many complicating factors such as the fact that his contract is not extendable so he’d be a two-month rental, his age, and the lack of teams that need a starting point guard. If I had to put money on it I’d say he’s going to play out his contract and potentially even re-sign, with the presence of his kids in Phoenix and the Suns’ vaunted training staff no small issues. If he does go, Portland would be my guess since they’ve been after him for years, desperately need a point guard and have the kind of assets that could make a deal work.
From the Wizards’ perspective, you’ll hear sentiment such as, “We just turned into our old selves in the third quarter,” courtesy of Andray Blatche in the quote mix video above. He also said that too many players were trying to put things on their own shoulders and that there were no Kobe Bryants or Dwyane Wades in the locker room.
Regarding the offense, Rashard Lewis said in the first quarter the Wizards moved the ball side to side, but later in the game, they often utilized only half of the baseline to halfcourt plane.
John Wall cited lack of heart and fight … hero ball.
Nick Young said that they have to find ways to get people open, saying Grant Hill was talking to him during the game, telling him that the Suns were reading every play the Wizards called.
The last game was played in Milwaukee, and this one was played in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center. The Bucks were missing three starters, and the Suns had a healthy roster at their disposal. The Wizards are a putrid 0-20 on the road, and they went into last night’s contest with 12-8 home record–including four straight wins at home. You get the point here, there were plenty of differences between last night’s game against Phoenix and Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Still, it played out exactly the same.
In both games, the Wizards played flawless first quarter basketball, only to see their hard work come unraveled in each quarter after that, leading to a double digit loss.
The Wizards shot 53-percent in the first quarter, and they were mainly led by Nick Young (11 points) and Andray Blatche (10 points). John Wall did not do much damage scoring-wise (two points), but he managed to dish out a whopping nine assists, before he was subbed out for Kirk Hinrich with 3:49 left in the period.